We don’t exist!! It’s official!! We have no Self!

I guess all of us have a very strong sense of self. We know who we are, what we like and what we believe in. We find it extremely worrying to think that companies can use algorithms to analyse what we believe in, feel and like just from how we shop and interact on the internet.  That is an insult.

They claim that they know us better than we do.

That makes us angry. We don’t like to think of ourselves as being so simple and transparent. We are more than a set of algorithms.

It makes us even madder when it becomes apparent that they might be right.

Neuropsychologists have been investigating brains and the concept of self.

The good news is that it exists. We do have a ‘self’.

The bad news is that it is a construct that is built from our experiences and interactions with others. We do not possess an intrinsic ‘self’.

Our sense of self is constructed from interacting with families, friends, relatives, strangers and culture – it comes out of our experiences – nothing more.

Basically we are networks of neurones and our self and our choices are just created out of the pathways we have created. It’s no wonder that algorithms can be used so successfully to analyse us and manipulate us. Soon our computer will be able to vote for us without having to even consult us! How long is it before our ‘self’ will be reduced to a digital code that could exist as a consciousness within our computers? We could live forever without pain, illness or fears (apart from fear of a power cut).

I find that a bit chilling.

We don’t exist! We really have no self, do we?

What do you think?

18 thoughts on “We don’t exist!! It’s official!! We have no Self!

  1. I think it’s evident that it works to extended degrees and levels from one individual to another. One who has lived and worked within the same confines all their life is perhaps going to have a different set of ‘self-worth’ values than another who has actually been about a bit and experienced so much more.
    By no means are computers any kind of means test that can analyse or manipulate us as there is not nearly enough information. People use computers to buy and communicate, they are simply an extension of the telephone and that’s about it. I spend my life with my head under the bonnet building car engines which has nothing to do with any computer algorithms. No algorithm analysis could ever fathom out what I do with my life or how I think, what I like, dislike, or anything to do with me.
    The only good use these algorithms can muster is analysis of buying habits. However, the shortfall with these algorithms is always a matter of time-frame. A person might have spent a more than average amount of time buying items of a certain commodity type over a period of time, but this does not reflect their only interests. Shortly after they may move onto another category which now stretches the fine tuning of any analysis. It’s very much a failure of a concept.
    My computer could never know who to vote for on my behalf.
    You might need to explain yourself what you’re thinking about concerning our reduction to a digital code! I could live with pain as it’s often painful when working under the hood and the spanner slips and my knuckles get bashed. Other than that, you’ve lost me.

    1. You’ve just provided information that could be analysed by sophisticated algorithms. It is not merely purchasing power. They are being used to sort emotional and intellectual types. At present they are primitive. They are becoming more sophisticated. Before long they will be capable of a whole lot more.
      The claim is that already your computer would know how to vote on your behalf. In 50 years time that will be even clearer. Every use of phone and computer will be analysed. The possibility is immense. Already they are using algorithms to target voters in the Brexit referendum and Trump election. That will become more and more sophisticated. They’ll know your fears, hates, loves and psychological make-up.
      Our minds are digital. The firing of neurones. Computers are not yet powerful enough. In the future they might be.

      1. I really don’t think so and provided no such information that would be of any analytical use to anybody. What are they going to try and sell me – another new set of mechanic’s spanners that I don’t want?
        Well I suggest they’re going to be very disappointed when they get to sifting through all the emotion wreckage that seems to permeate about 80% of today’s younger generation – the Jelly Generation. Equally so upon analysis with their intellectualism.
        You’re living in a science fiction one-dimensional fantasy bubble irrelevant to every day activities which are infinite and will remain infinite. This stereotype “being” that supposedly exists out there in computer programming La-La Land, captures the imagination of computer programmers wishing to develop programmes synthesizing our activities. Good for them. These boffins need to get out a bit more and it will only work properly for them once they’ve introduced the mandatory lobotomy for all.
        Sounds very much like a lot of these ham-fisted, corny sc-fi books that get churned out week-in, week-out.
        You’re not telling me that you believed any of that fantasy about – as you wrote above, “Already they are using algorithms to target voters in the Brexit referendum and Trump election.” You believed that? You must be getting soft in the head Opher, or your battery is charging down in that digital mind of yours.
        Can I suggest you switch your digital mind off and get some rest?

      2. Well you ignore it if you like. I don’t particularly care. I just know what they are now developing. We’ll see where it goes, won’t we?

      3. What’s to take personal here with your “don’t particularly care” comment? Touchy, touchy, aren’t we?

        But can’t you foresee the limitations? The corruption?
        Have you heard about the movement towards an alternative network that will not be feeding our personal information? That’s what’s really happening. Thankfully these people are already ahead of the game plan of these psychotic fascist globalists.
        Not all of us are sheep and only too willing to be lead into a state of Globalism.
        We will indeed see where that goes, won’t we?

      4. Eric – any alternative to the net will still have information to process.
        Globalisation is already here. What is lacking is control of that globalisation.
        It seems to me that we are at the beginning of a massive AI/Automation revolution. Couple that with out of control globalisation and we have a nightmare. Somehow we have to gain control over those people. Undoing globalisation is not an option in my book. Controlling it is what is required.

      5. Yes, of course it will, and the difference being is of course the people who are running it and what they do with that information. Thankfully there are still enough people in the world with science technology skills not connected at the hip to large corporations and feeding us a load of science fraud.
        Globalisation is for certain here and there is NO lack of control such as you suggest.
        It’s very much been taken control of.

        Before Donald Trump arrived on the scene, there was of course Obama.
        Obama was a complete tool of the Globalist Cabal. He was their signature man like a puppet on a string and a disaster for us all. The corruption and wholesale theft of these Democrat pigs is unimaginable. Of course, they operate massive media businesses to insure that their political opposite take the rap for all misdemeanors.
        The public, like sheep, buy it, believe it and even subsequently write about it themselves, LOL. It couldn’t get any more corrupt.

        What NOBODY pays any attention to, or ever talks about, writes about or complains about are the activities of that c**t, Obama, during his last year in office.
        He furiously busied himself on the finalisation of these two global trade agreements.
        There was no reporting, no media coverage and no factual content distribution until after the event.

        1. Trans Atlantic Trade and Investment Partnership, TTIP, an agreement between the US and EU.
        2. Trans Pacific Partnership, TPP, US and Pacific rim countries.
        A third had been completed earlier.
        3. Comprehensive and Economic Trade Agreement, CETA, US and Canada: this had been completed previously in 2014, eliminating 98% of trade tariffs. This agreement also extended in the European Union, but of course did not extend to a 98% reduction in trade tariffs for the EU.

        These three Trojan Treaty agreements were given three names to hide the fact that it’s a global agreement and a global force with a global agenda. They are agreeing to give virtually total power over everything to giant corporations, all owned by the same network. This is where corporations take governments to corporate courts and get them to hand over vast amounts of money. These courts are controlled by the same people and these courts decide that elected government democratic policy has had an adverse/detrimental effect on corporate profits. It’s the same network who control EU bureaucracy, who control the UK govt, the US govt etc.
        Merkel is also a pawn in this powerful Cabal, and the reason behind her profound will to ingress the EU states with as few legal responsibilities as possible and to promote EU centralised controls as extended from trade into political.

        It maybe interesting to understand that when Cameron was PM, he used to be informed of any new EU law changes and their introduction from watching the news!
        Yet people protest about Brexit. I’m living in a psychotic hell. I’m living among people who believe that fascism can only be the work of the right-wing. I’m living among backward people who still think in terms of left-wing/right wing. It’s incredible how dense so many people remain and that would include Remainers, another name for Globalists.
        The leftist-progressives, at least far too many of them are the barrier between taking any action against this. There’s going to have to come a point they will have to grasp at last that these things are not happening by accident, that it’s purely corporate greed, and they are globally orchestrated by a global agenda.

        Centralised Corporate Control Dictatorship Fascism by cold calculated design.
        Including computer programmes.

      6. Eric – I can see you are no fan of globalisation. Neither am I when it is in the hands of a small elite. I want globalisation with us in the driving seat.

      7. I think it’s fair to say it’s far too late for any any change of direction with the form of “Globalism” that exists now.
        I have learned to abhor the term and the very concept and suggest an alternate is sought, as anybody who talks about globalism as it stands today is only promoting fascist doctrine.
        The trouble is not enough people know enough, they really don’t know the details. They heard of a concept and liked what they heard. It’s a bit like asking if they like curry, but if they knew what’s going in that curry they won’t be so keen.
        If people needed reminded what “Globalism” actually is they need look no further than the recent Monsanto situation. How many liars does it take to make a truth?
        How many full-on corrupt in-the-pocket scientists and experts does it take to convince us everything is safe?
        Some of us aren’t so stupid. Some of us know that if they keep up this mass production farming they’re going to run out of usable top soil in about sixty years.
        We need to “get back to the garden”, do things smaller, do things old-time.
        Globalism is nasty, dirty, corrupt and the fast highway to the death of us.
        You need to find another name for whatever it is you want.

      8. Eric – I think you are right. We need a different name for it. I despise the type of globalisation you describe with Monsanto but I do want an outward looking universalism. I want to protect the environment and give everybody on the planet a reasonable level of life; I want an end to war and poverty and the protection of human rights; I want a solution to overpopulation, an end to religious fundamentalism and no more pollution. The only way to address these things, in my view, is to have a universal approach. That is my idea of globalisation and I’d be happy to rename it as universalism.

      9. I would be most accepting of that term. It works well as a descriptive term all wrapped up in one word and isn’t highfalutin.

  2. I don’t believe in my idea of myself. My name isn’t mine, it was given to me. All of my beliefs have been imprinted by another. Yet, paradoxically, in seeing the illusion of myself, I am embracing the trueness of myself. I’m shedding what I was told to do and be and becoming what I am. At the end of the day, my true self is I am. Action. Movement. Experience. I am
    Not a noun, a stable unchangeable element. I am an everchanging dynamic. Great post!

  3. Sam Harris the famous atheist has declared that free will and the self are illusions , all that we do and think is predetermined by the past.
    I much prefer the concept of Nicholas Humphreys in his book ‘ Soul Dust ‘ , he believes the self was created by natural selection as a survival mechanism and that we see the world through the self so created.
    The great problem with the Harris view is it means no one is responsible for their actions a very dangerous situation if we take it seriously.
    Steven Pinker in his book ‘ How the Mind Works ‘ points out the mind was created for survival and may not be equipped to unravel all sorts of deep questions.

    1. Kersten – yes it is widely thought that our personalities and idea of self are nothing more than psychological constructs created through our upbringing. We are what we have experienced.

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